Wright State Recognized as Ohio Center of Excellence

CELIA Encouraging Future Collaborations in the Arts

Photo of COLA Dean Charles Taylor, CELIA Dir. Hank Dahlman, Chancellor of the Board of Regents Jim Petro and President David R. Hopkins, Wright State University.

Wright State’s CELIA was named an Ohio Center of Excellence by the Ohio Board of Regents. (L-R) COLA Dean Charles Taylor, CELIA Dir. Hank Dahlman, Chancellor of the Board of Regents Jim Petro and Wright State President David R. Hopkins.

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro, joined by Wright State President David R. Hopkins, today named Wright State University’s Center for Collaborative Education, Leadership and Innovation in the Arts (CELIA) an Ohio Center of Excellence in Cultural and Societal Transformation. This endeavor builds upon the talents and expertise of students and faculty in the departments of Art and Art History; Music; and Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures.

Wright State University has been recognized in four Ohio Center of Excellence categories. CELIA is Wright State’s seventh Ohio Center of Excellence, joining centers in human-centered innovation, neuroscience, disaster readiness, product reliability, micro air vehicles and knowledge-enabled computing.

“Wright State University is to be commended for striving to improve on what is already an exceptional program,” Chancellor Petro said. “The individual departments that make up The Collaborative Education, Leadership and Innovation in the Arts are already having a huge impact. It is exciting to envision what is possible in the future.”

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, who has starred in blockbuster films such as Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan, gave a glowing endorsement of Wright State’s arts programs. A taped video of Hanks was played during the news conference at Wright State’s Student Union. Click here to view the video.

“Wright State is training the artists of tomorrow. I know because I’ve worked with some of Wright State’s alumni, and they’re among the best in their fields,” Hanks said. “Wright State not only has one of the most outstanding arts programs in Ohio, but one of the best in the entire nation.”

For the past 10 years, the departments of Art and Art History; Music; Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures have been centers of undergraduate excellence and artistic collaboration in the region. Individually and collectively, these departments have impacted the creative climate of an area already recognized for its vibrant artistic activities.

Their collaborative endeavors in the fine and performing arts have had considerable economic impact, attracting millions of dollars in investment and economic spinoff through collaborative projects such as films, plays, concerts, and art exhibitions. They have also funded scholarships through Wright State’s annual ArtsGala and helped to fund the Creative Arts Center expansion project.

“The overarching goal of CELIA is to create unique, innovative, internal and external artistic collaborations resulting in a transformative impact on campus, in Dayton, in the region, throughout Ohio and beyond,” Petro said.

Projects under the CELIA umbrella have included the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant and last fall’s groundbreaking production of August: Osage County, a collaboration between Wright State and Dayton’s Human Race Theatre Company. CELIA also supports a number of ongoing innovative programs like the university’s STEAM3 course, which helps education majors learn to use the creative arts to teach math and science.

CELIA will utilize the Ohio Center of Excellence designation to take a leadership role in creating and sponsoring new, innovative and even larger artistic collaborations. These joint ventures will attract highly talented students from all over the world and expand and transform the artistic environment of the region.

“The designation will encourage collaborations that move well beyond the region, provide much greater visibility for programs and projects, facilitate fundraising, enhance economic development and formalize and nurture existing and future collaborations,” Hopkins said. “While CELIA’s collaborative work is already exceptional, the center designation will provide the increased synergy to take it to the next level.”

“Dayton has an outstanding arts community,” said Hank Dahlman, director of CELIA. “We are in a position to leverage that artistic diversity and richness to help attract and develop that creative class in the region and state.”

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